Page 7


Jamie shrugs. “I’ll get it later. See you in Spanish.”
And with that, she is gone.
“Leaving already?” Page Thomas asks anxiously as I slam my PE locker shut. “Man, you’re fast.”
“Yeah, I need to get going,” I say over my shoulder to her. “See you tomorrow.”
“Monday,” Page corrects me, her voice raining disappointment.
“Oh, right, Monday,” I reply loudly, now all the way to the heavy locker room doors. Page is following me.
“Wait, London?” she asks. “Can I talk to you for a minute?” I sigh, knowing what’s coming.
“Sure,” I say, with as much enthusiasm as I can muster through my utter disappointment. I want to leave and go meet him.
“Thanks,” Page says, beaming. I notice that her icy blue eyes are so light they nearly match the whites. With those and her almost silvery blonde hair, she looks like an ice princess.
An ice princess who wears outdated glasses and baggy, mismatched clothes that could one day land her on a makeover show.
I stare at Page until she speaks.
“Okay, so I feel a little silly asking you this,” she begins, “but that day when I was on office duty and delivered that note from your mom to your math class, I noticed that Brad Thomas sits next to you and I was wondering if you know if he has a girlfriend?”
Brad Thomas. I’ll sit next to him in math for the rest of the year. His handwriting looks like a third grader’s; I know from sneaking a peek at his test to see his score in a couple weeks. Beyond that, he’s definitely not a math genius, either.
Stalling, I look around to see if anyone’s watching us. My eyes land on Page’s backpack: her name is embroidered there. Page Thomas.
“You like a guy with the same last name as you?” I ask randomly.
“Yep,” Page admits freely, like she planned it that way. “Convenient.”
More like gross.
Now Page is the one staring. Expectantly. I know I need to say something, but I’m not sure what. I can’t tell her that I remember what happens to her—that Brad will break her heart—but I need to go. The clock is ticking, and, beyond the fact that I desperately want to meet Luke Henry, I also can’t be late to class. Detention with Jamie and her train wreck is not something I want to witness firsthand.
“Page, I have to go. I’m going to be late,” I say. Her smile slides off her face, but she doesn’t speak.
“Listen, I don’t really know Brad,” I continue. “We’re not friends or anything, so I don’t have a clue if he’s dating anyone. I’m sorry.”
Her face is so low it might actually touch the ground. Apparently I’m her only hope, which is ironic, if you think about it. The person who can see the end is the one she’s counting on at the beginning.
All I want to do is leave, but I feel trapped by Page’s pleading eyes. With no apparent way out, I consider what she’s asking. Would she get over Brad if I told her he was going to humiliate her and break her heart? Probably not. She’d call me crazy and find another way to date him.
That thought in mind, I surrender.
“All right, I’ll try to strike up a conversation with him and get some information. Soon, okay?”
Page beams and hugs me with a squeal, then takes off. I follow her into the commons, then turn right when she goes straight. I race up the hallway that leads to the library, making a mental note as I go to include the promise in my end-of-the-day recap. I also make a mental note not to obsess about the wrongness of moving this forward.
Page may not know for sure what’s coming like I do, but every relationship has the potential to fail. Somewhere deep inside, she has to know that’s a possibility. And yet, she’s okay with it. That’s enough for me.
I try not to think of my own warning sign with Luke—the big flashing one that says YOU DON’T REMEMBER HIM!—but I ignore it for the possibility of a relationship. I guess that makes me a little like Page.
A boy I don’t recognize accidentally bumps me as he rushes by. He is decent-looking, and I can’t help but wonder: Was that Luke? I watch some of the other male faces blow past, all at once struck by the realization that I don’t have a clue what Luke looks like. He could be walking next to me right now and I wouldn’t know it. What if he thinks I’m a freak for not talking to him? What if he doesn’t like how I look?
I take cover in the girls’ bathroom to get my anxiety in check. Then, I scan myself in the mirror for anything that might turn Luke off. Thankfully, I’m completely alone as I fix a weird piece of hair and check my teeth, nose, and butt in the mirror.
The bell rings as I leave the bathroom; I run the rest of the way to the library.
“Tardiness is unacceptable,” Ms. Mason says to me without looking up from her magazine. I move toward the only open seat: the one across from a boy who looks very happy to see me.
Somehow I know: this is Luke.
As I sit down, he casually slides a piece of notebook paper across the table, then returns to whatever he was working on. I unpack my schoolwork before reading the page; the wait is excruciating, but I don’t want to seem too eager. When I do read what he’s written, I fight hard to keep my expression in check.
It seems we have a problem chatting in class. How about you give me your number and we can try it later?
PS—You look nice today.
I press my cheek to my shoulder to stifle a snort. Luke wrote the note before I got here; he had no idea how I looked before I sat down.
For the remainder of the period, I daydream about a future with Luke like normal girls who can’t remember the future might do with a crush. At least that’s the bright side of forgetting him each night: I can wonder.
Two minutes before the bell, I scrawl my number on the bottom of Luke’s note and pass it back. I am surprised when he risks detention by pulling out his cell phone and saving my number right then and there. Thankfully, Ms. Mason doesn’t notice.
When the bell rings, Luke and I stand at the same time and walk together to the library doors, close but not touching. Hannah Wright leaves before us and holds the door so it doesn’t slam in our faces. She looks from me to Luke to me again, then smiles encouragingly before turning around. In the hallway, Luke and I turn to go in different directions.
“Talk to you soon,” he says.
“Sounds good,” I reply. I want to say more, but we are bottlenecking the main hallway, and there is only so much time between classes. Instead, I wave and turn away, forcing myself to walk, not skip, to my locker.
Later, in World History, Mr. Ellis says he’s going to show a film about Nazi Germany.
“It’s disturbing, but I expect you all to act like mature adults. Anyone who cannot do that will be sent to the office.”
After study hall with Luke, I’m still feeling more like a giddy schoolgirl than a mature adult. I try to muzzle my permagrin, but it can’t be contained. I turn my head toward the window so Mr. Ellis doesn’t see me smiling and take it the wrong way.
I’m surprised to discover huge white flakes of snow drifting lazily from the sky. The snow blankets the courtyard like froth on the top of a perfect latte. It’s beautiful and untouched, and it calms me.